VoiceCon 2009: Tackling A Shifting Business Communications Landscape - InformationWeek
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VoiceCon 2009: Tackling A Shifting Business Communications Landscape

The enterprise communications event, in San Francisco November 2-5, will feature deep dive sessions and keynotes from Avaya, IBM, and Siemens.

The last year has been full of uncertainty and change, but Fred Knight, general manager of VoiceCon San Francisco, November 2-5, said the best bet for businesses is really understanding what their options are in order to maximize the investments they make in enterprise communication.

Enterprise communications is in a transitional stage, Knight said, as Microsoft and IBM are making a bigger push to challenge Cisco's leadership position and companies such as Avaya and Siemens are transforming into software and application companies. This year's conference will have a bit of a format shift in order to give attendees an in-depth look into this transition.

Along with the usual three-hour tutorial sessions, there will also be two-hour "deep dive" sessions aimed at giving attendees an intricate look at issues such as fixed-mobile convergence, troubleshooting converged networks, converged network designs, and other issues. Executives from Avaya, IBM, and Siemens will also be delivering keynotes devoted to how enterprises can reinvent voice for a new era of business communication.

The global economic recession hit Nortel hard, and the company filed for bankruptcy protection in January and has been selling off its assets. This will lead to shockwaves felt by many businesses because Nortel was a major player in the enterprise communication space. There will be a special session devoted to how businesses can deal with the ramifications of Nortel's collapse.

"Their demise impacts just about every vendor and every customer," Knight said of Nortel.

Unified communications will also play a large role at this year's show, as there will be multiple new product offerings, case studies, and data. Knight said the event will provide a great barometer of whether real-life implementations of offerings such as Microsoft's Office Communicator Server have actually been delivering what vendors have promised.

As employees increasingly want to bring personal devices such as the iPhone onto corporate networks, businesses face a host of security, cost-management, and productivity issues. The conference will offer companies a variety of products and technical sessions regarding how enterprises can effectively deal with the consumerization of IT and the growing role of enterprise mobility, Knight said.

Enterprises have been transitioning from TDM to IP infrastructures for the past decade or so, and the questions about reliability are largely gone. Knight said multiple sessions will be looking at the architecture of next-generation of enterprise communications platforms. VoiceCon San Francisco will also be co-located with Enterprise 2.0, which should help businesses better understand the role social media will play in future network architectures.

"Today's systems and networks weren't really built from the ground up handle video, IM, and other features, as those have been added as supplementary capabilities," said Knight. "It is time to take a hard look at what tomorrow's enterprise networks will look like."

Registration is now open for the leading enterprise communications event, VoiceCon. It happens in San Francisco, Nov. 2-5. Find out more and register.

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